The Houston Rockets are currently ranked sixth in Western Conference standings - and Houston's general manager Daryl Morey says that the team could benefit from the long hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Madelyn Burke: As the NBA is one its way back Rockets GM Daryl Morey says the hiatus may be just what his team needed as Houston looks to return to the finals for the first time since 1995. So joining me now is SI NBA writer Michael Shapiro. Michael, how could this hiatus, first of all, affect the landscape of the NBA standings?
Michael Shapiro: You know, this will certainly be an unprecedented playoffs, both in the location, the format, and, of course, coming off a nearly five month layoff. I think it's really hard to predict which teams will adjust well, which teams will suffer. But I think that's a really big thing, is how teams coming out of the gate originally, will perform in this very, very strange situation.
Madelyn Burke: A super strange situation. Houston currently set sixth in the Western Conference. They're slated to face Denver in the first round. But that could change if there's a reseeding, maybe one through 16 reseeding. Daryl Morey seems to be pretty confident about how this would affect Houston's chances. How might things change?
Michael Shapiro: You know, I think Daryl's always a guy that really projects confidence and there is some danger for the Rockets if they were to fall to the 7th seed. That would be really tough to face one of the Los Angeles teams in the first round. But I think Morey's point is more that this is a team that laden with veterans doesn't have much cohesion. You know, they added Jeff Green and Robert Covington, DeMarre Carroll in February. So this kind of second training camp before the season starts again should really help them become acclimated. Perhaps they can get off to a hot start and rise their seed and maybe, just maybe they could compete for the finals.
Madelyn Burke: Well, the NBA is targeting a July 31st return with several possible structural scenarios. Michael Shapiro, thank you so much for the time.